A First Foray With Favas!
I have been fantasizing about fava beans for some time now… ever since I set out to make an Oldways recipe for fava bean soup a few weeks ago and ran into a few glitches (not the least of which was that I had no fava beans!).
I was inspired to try again, when I took my mother to lunch at the Met Bar in Boston where we enjoyed an amazing bowl of fresh fava beans with finely grated fresh pecorino cheese, black pepper and whatever other secret ingredients their kitchen included. Fresh, green and full of flavor! Needless to say my mother and I polished off this bowl of heaven and set out for a walk around the city that began at the Copley Square Farmers Market. As luck would have it fava beans are now in season around here. I took this as a sign that the time had arrived for me to attempt this dish at home and bought myself a large bag of favas.
This was my first foray with fava beans so my cooking adventure began with a bit of Googling to learn about preparation, cook time and any other essential insights I could gather. I was not quite ready for the amount of work involved in preparing these beans but knowing the end result would be healthy and delicious kept me focused and on task!
First step is to get a pot of salted water on the stove.
I then enlisted the help of my fiancé to shuck the beans from their large, fuzzy pods. Once we finished this tedious task, I was somewhat surprised that we ended up with, only about a cup of beans. Next time I will buy two bags!
Next you drop the shucked beans in your pot of boiling, salted water. My recommendation is to boil for about a minute and a half then test a bean. The consistency should be a bit firm, similar to edamame. Favas are a larger bean, some almost the size of a quarter, so cook time may vary but I would say between 1 ½ - 2 minutes in the pot and then back in the colander for a cold-water bath to stop the cooking process.
Another lesson learned: fava beans, in addition to their pods, have a casing or skin that needs to be removed from each bean after boiling. It is not difficult and the skin comes off pretty easily; it just takes some time.
At this point the beans are almost ready to eat. Place them in a small bowl; shave some pecorino cheese over your beans, grind a bit of fresh cracked pepper, add a little squeeze of lemon and its time to enjoy. My fava beans tasted every bit as good as those at the Met Bar, so maybe the only secret ingredient is a good appetite! --Rachel
1 teaspoon of salt for water
3 lb bag of fava beans
1/8 cup finely grated pecorino cheese
Fresh cracked pepper to taste
Fresh squeezed lemon to taste (maybe ¼ teaspoon)